By Chito A. Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on May 22, Friday, that 140 show-cause orders were already issued against rogue barangay officials for various quarantine protocols and social amelioration program (SAP)-related violations.
In a press briefing, DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño admitted the “nakakatakot (alarming)’’ number of SAP complaints they received range from cash aid splitting and demanding of processing fees amounting to as much as P2,000, to placing the names of undeserving supporters, relatives, and family members over the more impoverished households in the list of qualified financial assistance beneficiaries.
Diño said that the DILG is now monitoring the readiness of barangays to distribute the second wave of the cash aid, as almost 100 percent of the grants in the first tranche have been given out.
“Alam niyo naman kami ‘yung 42,045 barangay, ready kami kung ano man iutos ng national government (You know that the country’s 42,045 barangays are ready to follow orders from the national government),’’ Diño said.
Citing an example, Diño said barangays are very willing to assist the police and the military in the SAP distribution in remote and far-flung areas with peace and order concerns.
Col. Arnold Thomas Ibay, chief of the CIDG-NCR, vowed to run after corrupt barangay officials involved in SAP-related irregularities in Metro Manila.
He assured the public that their valid complaints will be acted upon in accordance with the law, while assuring that barangay officials suspected of wrongdoing will be given due process in the name of fair play.
Diño admitted that, despite repeated reminders to lawfully distribute the cash assistance, many rogue barangay officials commit shameless acts of duping low-income families of their financial benefits, which range from P5,000 to P8,000 depending on the minimum wage of their regions.
“Sa ngayon, 42 yung simanpahan na ng kaso ng [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group] (The CIDG has already filed 42 cases,’’ Diño said.
But with 42,045 barangays in the country, Diño noted there remains more or less 40,000 morally upright and righteous barangays in the country, as the DILG only received about 2,000 SAP-related complaints.
At the end of the day, Diño emphasized the vital role barangays play in the distribution of food and non-food aid, as they know the identities and have the records of low-income families in their respective areas.